Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 29, 2021

Syria - The U.S. Controlled Al-Tanf Serves As ‘ISIS’ Base - Truth Or Propaganda?

by Hedwig Kuijpers

Photo of US soldiers training Maghweer al-Thora forces in the al-Tanf pocket (source: Hammurabi news)

Many questions remain unanswered about the al-Tanf United States base in the Syrian desert, that is called illegal by the Syrian government and Russia. Why is al-Tanf so important to the US? What are the US soldiers still doing there? Who else are hosted in the al-Tanf pocket? Why is ISIS growing again? Is al-Tanf really a launching pad for ISIS attacks in the region?

Why is the al-Tanf base so important to the US?

The al-Tanf base is located in the al-Tanf pocket, at about 20km of the al-Tanf border crossing. It’s 55 km-deconfliction zone is located along the border with Iraq and Jordan, and cuts off the Baghdad-Damascus highway. By controlling this highway, the United States ensures that Iranian deliveries to the Syrian capital Damascus cannot take place by land. This is of high strategic importance to the US, because Iranian shipments and air deliveries are much easier intercepted, and form an easy target to Israeli airstrikes.

The US-led coalition forces use al-Tanf as an entrance point to launch operations into Syria. The base can be easily reached from both Baghdad and Jordan. Both the Syrian government and Russian officials have repeatedly stated that the al-Tanf zone are being used by terrorist groups active in the region, as a safe haven and a foothold to carry out attacks on government-held areas and Iranian proxy-groups in the Bukamal area. This ‘ISIS rear base’ has been actively protected by the forces stationed at al-Tanf, which threaten any deployment of the Syrian Arab Army, Iranian proxy-groups and Russian forces close to the al-Tanf zone. The formal justification given by the US surrounding these actions is that Syrian government troops as well as Iranian-backed forces in Syria pose a threat to US-backed ‘less-radical’ rebel groups and US troops deployed at the garrison.

Oil, Rebels, Iran, Chaos and Leverage

Many allegations exist surrounding the activities of the US soldiers present at al-Tanf, even though the Trump-administration claimed it wanted to pull back troops from Syria and victory had been announced over ISIS.

One of the reasons is the presence of US-backed ‘rebel’ groups such as Maghweer al-Thora. According to an OIR inspector general report released Aug. 4. 2020, OIR officials want to want to double the size of US-proxy forces in Syria and finish training a 2,200-man “oilfield guard” unit there.

The same report also mentions the oil revenues of the area. US-backed forces likely produced at least 30,000 barrels of oil per day, garnering nearly $3 million a day in revenue, until the recent price collapse. “Although US-backed Kurdish forces have “bolstered” their “security presence near major oil and gas fields in northeastern Syria,” they have “remained co-located with Coalition forces whose protection SDF leaders still depend on,” the IG report also reads, reminding us of the cooperation of a shady US oil company partnering up with the Kurdish-led SDF to refine and sell Syria’s oil. The Kurdish-led SDF occupies a great part of the country’s wheat fields and the majority of Syria’s oilfields, and thus actively threaten Syria’s economy. Another reason the US government might utter are ‘humanitarian reasons’ As there are 10.000 refugees and Bedouins living inside the deconfliction zone, which is heavily infiltrated by ISIS militants and said to be a launching pad for ‘ISIS’ attacks by Syrian officials. US officials might utter these ‘refugees’ have been under US protection for years now, and leaving them behind might put them in danger, so they must stay.

Army Gen. Joseph Votel, the top U.S. commander for the Middle East, acknowledged the base's strategic importance in countering the sway of Iran. He was quoted as following: “Al Tanf's location is also central to its role in preventing the Iranians from gaining a firmer foothold in the region. The base sits in the heart of what Iran hopes will be part of a "Shia Crescent," a continuous land bridge linking Iran through Iraq and Syria to Lebanon.” US officials have also uttered that their presence at al-Tanf could form leverage in the negotiations on the outcome of the conflict. As Syria, Russia, Turkey and Iran all want the United States to leave Syria, it might give them some leverage when Syria’s future will be formed.

Maghaweer al-Thowra, liberated ISIS prisoners, and the British SAS

As mentioned earlier, the rebel group “Revolutionary Commando Army” or ‘Maghaweer al-Thowra’ is hosted in the al-Tanf pocket, they are called ‘less-radical’ are trained by US soldiers to fight in anti-ISIS operations. Yet, defects of the group have claimed that 'U.S. troops at Al-Tanf base sold weapons to ISIS in Syria' and use the group to hinder operations of the Syrian Arab Army and Iranian proxies in the area instead.

“American instructors trained them to carry out sabotage at oil and transport infrastructure, as well as for terrorist acts in the Syrian government-controlled territories,” state another group of defectors of Maghaweer al-Thowra. In addition to US-backed rebel groups, it is also stated that former ISIS militants are being hosted in the al-Tanf pocket. Though the US forces have not denied that ISIS militants may have infiltrated the refugees there, multiple reports state that ISIS prisoners released by Kurdish officials have been massively transported to the US military base. Western forces are being host in the al-Tanf base as well. The British special forces SAS have been operating alongside US forces and Syrian ‘rebels’ since 2016 in operations hidden from the public. The British covert operation started as early as 2011, when the British were assisting the earliest Syrian ‘rebels’ and assessing their needs to overthrow Syrian president Assad. The SAS began actively training the ‘rebels’ fighting Assad from bases in Jordan in 2012. At the same time, the SAS also began “slipping into Syria on missions”. That the rebels they supported had strong affiliations with ISIS did not matter to them. The Free Syrian Army that was supported in the British operation, was in effect allied to IS until the end of 2013 and was collaborating with it on the battlefield until 2014, despite tensions between the groups. "We have good relations with our brothers in the FSA," ISIS leader Abu Atheer said in 2013, having bought arms from the FSA.

In 2015, reports started to emerge of SAS fighters dressed as ISIS militants and waving the black flag, while at the same time continuing operations against the Syrian Arab Army.

Other reports show that the SAS has been actively training and fighting alongside the Kurdish-led SDF. British special forces continue to operate on the ground in Syria in 2019 and are reported to number at least 120 soldiers, as a new cyber unit was announced that ‘was created to take on Russian and Chinese battle tech’ and ‘also track down remaining ISIS commanders’. In 2020, the SAS has continued ‘secret manoeuvres’ in Syria. They have also fought alongside the Kurdish-led SDF and were clad in Burkas during operations in the area. Reports by British media also state that the forces will also be deployed to hinder Russia’s and Iran’s covert activities. SAS forces are stationed in Jordan and al-Tanf.

SAS fighters (source:

Why is ISIS growing again?

Attacks claimed by ISIS in both Iraq and Syria have increased significantly in 2020, demonstrating both a capacity and a willingness on ISIS’s part to continue attacks and retake territory, support in the area, and resources. ISIS has led a steady beat of assassinations, ambushes, and bombings in eastern Syria in 2020, and is responsible for the deaths of a number of regime and SDF forces. By August, 126 attacks by ISIS across Syria were reported for 2020 — compared to 144 in all of 2019. Reasons mentioned for the ISIS resurgence in Syria are to be found in several complex situations. The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces have released more than 600 ISIS fighters and 15.000 ISIS-supporters from al-Hol camp. In addition, 785 ISIS fighters escaped from Ayn Issa during Turkish shelling, and about 100 hardcore ISIS-militants have reportedly escaped from ISIS-prisons.

ISIS prisoners in Hasakah (source: Rudaw)

Another reason for ISIS’ opportunity to grow are the flaring tensions between the SDF and tribal forces in Deir ez-Zor, after the assassinations of several powerful Arab tribal leaders. The SDF blamed the Syrian government, Turkey, Iran and their respective local allies of using certain elements in Deir ez-Zor to cause instability. Though in 2019, victory over ISIS was declared after the last ISIS stronghold was retaken in the battle for Baghouz, the amount of ISIS attacks has seemed to have risen. Maps made by Gregory Waters show the exact location of the ISIS attacks, and how the location of the attacks suddenly spread from the al-Tanf/al-Bukamal axis to the Deir ez-Zor-Uqayribat axis (ISIS stronghold that was liberated by the Syrian Arab Army in 2017) in 2020, as well as multiplying and intensifying by orders of magnitude.




By analyzing these maps, an interesting trend can be seen. ISIS attacks seem to focus on areas that have been recaptured by the Syrian Arab Army, stretching deeply in SAA territory. Other ISIS attacks focus on Iranian proxies from al-Bukamal to Deir ez-Zor. An amount of ISIS attacks also occurred in SDF-held territories, focussing on the Deir ez-Zor region. These attacks conveniently seem to target tribal leaders that oppose the SDF-US oil deal.

Is al-Tanf really a launching pad for ISIS attacks in the region?

The controversial al-Tanf base is mentioned as a launching pad for ISIS attacks in the region by many sides. All sides seem to agree that dubious attacks – claimed to be committed by ISIS - seem to be launched from the al-Tanf pocket.

The al-Tanf pocket hosts ISIS-affiliated refugees and militias like Maghaweer al-Thowra, that have cooperated with ISIS and use quite the same modus operandi. These groups still receive training by US soldiers today.

It is undeniable that escaped or released ISIS fighters may have rejoined the group. Released jihadists often return to ISIS or similar groups.

British SAS forces remain operative in the reason, and are stationed in Jordan and al-Tanf, from where they launch operations. Little is known about their activities in Syria, as the SAS is exempt from freedom of information laws and operates under a strict “no comment” policy. Secrecy around the corps is pervasive.

Statements of defectors, Russian government officials and Syrian government officials, and other signs explained in this article all point in the same direction; that al-Tanf has become the launching pad of dubious activities in the region. They allege US-sponsored ISIS factions, US-backed rebel groups, or secretive SAS operations are behind the attacks.

Proving these allegations or distinguishing the real perpetrator is very hard, yet all evidence points at al-Tanf. And even if proven, accusations will remain unheard by the larger public. Yet, when arguing about this growing threat, one must take the US military’s earlier actions in the Middle East in mind. The US has a long history of state-sponsored terrorism, and cooperation with terrorist- and radical jihadist groups. Proof of these operations often only shows up years after. And I myself will not be surprised if - one day - news about a clandestine ISIS-US cooperation appears in the media through leaks or whistle blowers, books will be written, and documentaries will be made.

Posted by b on January 29, 2021 at 10:44 UTC | Permalink


No surprise to hear that all of a sudden, and so soon after Joe Biden's inauguration as US President, Syria is coming back into the United States' target sights. The team that used to advise O'Bomber on his Middle East policy must have all come back and are probably also being paid bigger bucks for the next four-year cycle.

Posted by: Jen | Jan 29 2021 11:01 utc | 1

How can a U.S. citizen even respond? U.S. Intel agency secrets. CENTCOM's treason, the nation's complicity in another eternal war for Israel. It's just too sad to comment about. Maybe voting and the law will fix this mess.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Jan 29 2021 11:31 utc | 2

" that is called illegal by the Syrian government "
If the Syrian government say something inside Syria is illegal then that's what it is because they are the Syrian government.

What's this 'regime' you talk about? Is it the American one?

Posted by: Johny Conspiranoid | Jan 29 2021 11:47 utc | 3

I'm pretty sure one important function of that military base is to block an important road from Iran to Iraq to Lebanon.

Breaking the so-called Shia Crescent, more or less the main geopolitical purpose of the whole Syrian operation of the last decade. And still ongoing.

Posted by: Mao Cheng Ji | Jan 29 2021 11:51 utc | 4

“Many questions remain unanswered about the al-Tanf United States base in the Syrian desert, that is called illegal by the Syrian government and Russia.

It’s probably unintentional but this phrasing is similar to what the NYT and WaPo use when they want to cast doubt on a claim made by US “adversaries.”

The fact is, the al-Tanf base is unquestionably illegal because the US is in Syria without Damascus’ consent. It is an occupation force but no war was declared nor did the UN authorize the occupation. This makes it illegal under international law no matter what anyone says or doesn’t say about it.

Posted by: Temporarily Sane | Jan 29 2021 11:53 utc | 5

This same article was published on Southfront a day or two ago.

It also says "Written by Hedwig Kuijpers exclusively for SouthFront"

I find it strange MoA makes no mention of Southfront at all?

Posted by: Et Tu | Jan 29 2021 12:13 utc | 6

Not only is the US/UK military occupation of Syrian sovereign territory illegal but the 'pillage' of Syrian oil is also illegal and prohibited by the Hague Conventions. This has been customary international law for over one hundred years.

So much for the fabled 'ruled based international order' a phrase which is recited by rote and trumpeted endlessly by the self same Anglo/Zionists. As if saying the phrase means doing it.

These war criminals will stop at nothing in the service of bandit state.

Posted by: Paul | Jan 29 2021 12:34 utc | 7

The SAS ought to be designated publicly as a "terrorist entity" by the Syrians and their backers.

I note that some of the targets mentioned are tribal leaders. If my memory serves me correctly the Shaihtah* tribe near Al Bukamal-Al Mayadin and whose original territory was on the Eastern side of the river, lost 750 people massacred by ISIS and who have now become (part of?) the SDF. Mainly Women and children of course. It won't change much if Tribal leaders are assassinated, as the tribe as a whole will remember. That is what Tribal afffinities are for.

* "Shaitah" is an approximative spelling !

Posted by: Stonebird | Jan 29 2021 13:00 utc | 8

Always with the USA and England colluding with ISIS against Assad. Don't you people read outside your comfort zone?

Under Obama:

Under Trump:

Posted by: Louis N Proyect | Jan 29 2021 13:04 utc | 9

Another reason for ISIS’ opportunity to grow are the flaring tensions between the SDF and tribal forces in Deir ez-Zor, after the assassinations of several powerful Arab tribal leaders. The SDF blamed the Syrian government, Turkey, Iran and their respective local allies of using certain elements in Deir ez-Zor to cause instability. Though in 2019, victory over ISIS was declared after the last ISIS stronghold was retaken in the battle for Baghouz, the amount of ISIS attacks has seemed to have risen. Maps made by Gregory Waters show the exact location of the ISIS attacks, and how the location of the attacks suddenly spread from the al-Tanf/al-Bukamal axis to the Deir ez-Zor-Uqayribat axis (ISIS stronghold that was liberated by the Syrian Arab Army in 2017) in 2020, as well as multiplying and intensifying by orders of magnitude.

One factor may be the direct consequence of the other: ISIS was defeated as a regular force, so now they're scattered around East Syria doing the more traditional terrorist attacks.

Posted by: vk | Jan 29 2021 13:20 utc | 10

@Et Tu
It also says "Written by Hedwig Kuijpers exclusively for SouthFront"

I find it strange MoA makes no mention of Southfront at all?

Hedwig had send me the piece two days and asked me to publish it. I did not know that it was on South Front. Nor do I know about anything "exclusive".

Posted by: b | Jan 29 2021 13:50 utc | 11

How can a U.S. citizen even respond? U.S. Intel agency secrets. CENTCOM's treason, the nation's complicity in another eternal war for Israel. It's just too sad to comment about. Maybe voting and the law will fix this mess.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Jan 29 2021 11:31 utc | 2

I think maybe its time to rethink is it actually the nation state of Israel, OR is it that the Nation State of Israel is the same as the Nation State of the USA, a warrior, pawn and get it done group that both holds captive its citizens by rule of law and that serves the will and wishes of the Oligarch..

Oligarchary has gone global. They are in control of the top of nearly all governments and they privately own (92% owned by just 6 entities) the media (the ninth tier in the 9 tier model) At the top and at the bottom they have what it takes to keep divided the populations so the deplorable cannot effectively organize. Until someone comes up with a way to overcome the divided nation,nothing effective is likely to surface. Nation states are the pawns, the war machine (leg breakers) that keep the Oligarch familes wealthy.. forget the nation state as the center of power, the nation state is not, the center of power is invisible, the nation state is just the war machine, and law making machine and the wealth extraction machine the oligarch depend on to keep their wealth and to deny the deplorable their chance at the good life.

One of the biggest challenges to democracy lay in the copyright and patent monopolies. these monopolies are creatures of the rule of law, without law there can be no privately owned monopolies. as of Oct 1, it is reported that 90% of the balance sheets of the traded companies is either patents or copyrights. that only leaves 10% for physical assets. Rule of law, without effective input from those who are the governed, is the enemy of the deplorable and the supression of Democracy, Independence of mind, thought and deed.

If you removed the laws that enable copyright and patents, overnight some mighty big corporate enterprises would be broke.

Posted by: snake | Jan 29 2021 13:52 utc | 12

Who is ISIS attacking the most? according to the NATO funded

SOHR Syrian Observatory of Human Rights
"Since 24th of March 2019, SOHR has documented the killing of at least 1,221 regime soldiers [and allies]"

My question to you is this, how many SDF [Kurdish soldiers] have ISIS killed over that time frame? [not rhetorical, I don't know the answer, I'd like to know]

A disparity of numbers will tell you who ISIS sees as their biggest enemy.

[If I ask a rhetorical question, I'll throw in a pompous, 'again I ask' at the end.]

Posted by: Christian J. Chuba | Jan 29 2021 13:58 utc | 13

“Maybe voting and the law will fix this mess.”

Posted by: PavewayIV | Jan 29 2021 11:31 utc | 2


Who are you gonna vote for? Tweedledum or tweedledee?

Posted by: Nathan Mulcahy | Jan 29 2021 14:16 utc | 14

Slightly OT: conspiracy theories Marjorie Taylor Greene

1. Parkland shooting was staged to undermine gun rights, 2. laser beam fired from space to help high speed rail in CA

Why do people so quickly embrace such far fetched explanations?

1. the theory has to give a conclusion that the listener wants to believe, 'my rights are being threatened by powerful people, bad people'. 2. It only requires plausibility, not proof, or a friends approval.

Back to this topic earlier, I said that ISIS considers the govt of Syria a bigger enemy than the SDF because they have attacked the SAA thousands of times, and I only see a few against the SDF.

I did not start with, 'Israel and the U.S. is in an alliance w/ISIS' to explain the same set of facts. I would say that the U.S. and Israel are more interested in hurting the Syrian govt even if it helps ISIS but that does not require a conspiracy.

I know this is pedantic. But I am fascinated by people who jump off the ledge and I'm trying to understand where the line is or if people have other observations.

Posted by: Christian J. Chuba | Jan 29 2021 14:36 utc | 15

Nathan Mulcahy @14:

PavewayIV wasn't serious.

Posted by: Ian2 | Jan 29 2021 14:51 utc | 16

PavewayIV @2: "Maybe voting and the law will fix this mess."

That sarcasm is much to dark for this bright and sunny morning.

Posted by: William Gruff | Jan 29 2021 15:37 utc | 17

Louis N Proyect @Jan29 13:04 #9 shows up to administer ideological policing to "you people" that think outside of the carefully constructed "comfort zone" of media narratives.

But moa readers have seen how fake these narratives have been with psyops like the White Helmets. And we have not forgotten the "Obama Administration's" "willful choice" to let ISIS rise after Russia prevented USA from bombing Syria in 2013.

Furthermore, we have noticed that ISIS never attacks Israel. And we can see that ISIS' continuing existence in Syria is crucial to USA's ability to legally remain in Syria under UN Resolution 2249.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 29 2021 16:10 utc | 18

Posted by: Louis N Proyect | Jan 29 2021 13:04 utc | 9

Always with the USA and England colluding with ISIS against Assad. Don't you people read outside your comfort zone?

Good to see *you* showing up on MoA to read outside your 'comfort zone' ...

Posted by: Arch Bungle | Jan 29 2021 16:58 utc | 19

JR @ 18

2249 does not remotely give USA legal cover. If you read only half the resolution while attempting to reason with the mind of a petulant child you could construct a rationale, but your older brother would see through that rationale in a second.

Yes, US diplomats often reason like small children. Let us not assist them.

Posted by: oldhippie | Jan 29 2021 17:04 utc | 20

They say the bigger they are the harder they fall. In the end, after the fall, after the 'truth commissions' and investigations, and post-apocalyptic introspection, the citizens of Empire will live in the shame of a humanity that worshiped greed as a religion, and practiced inhumanity to humans as simply another course in a feast. Meanwhile the billions of victims of Empire will dance, sing and rejoice as the current imperial project of the lizard-people sinks beneath the waves to join another in a long line of human empires that misunderstood the meaning of life.

Posted by: gottlieb | Jan 29 2021 17:08 utc | 21


How much loot does the US military industrial complex make every 24 hours on the ground?
Oiligopoly not included....
Asking for a friend

Posted by: Dogon Priest | Jan 29 2021 17:09 utc | 22

The acronym ought to be ISUS or USIS. Of course, al-Tanf is a terrorist base, the terrorists primarily being forces of the Outlaw US Empire and its main accomplice. Accepting that as fact, we must then determine WHY? What is the overall aim? If Hudson's correct about the overall geopolitical aims of the Parasitical Neoliberal Fascists running the Outlaw US Empire and its NATO vassals, then we've known the answer for quite awhile. The following is what Hudson has distilled it to:

"All economic systems seek to internationalize themselves and extend their rule throughout the world. Today’s revived Cold War should be understood as a fight between what kind of economic system the world will have. Finance capitalism is fighting against nations that restrict its intrusive dynamics and sponsorship of privatization and dismantling of public regulatory power. Unlike industrial capitalism, the rentier aim is not to become a more productive economy by producing goods and selling them at a lower cost than competitors. Finance capitalism’s dynamics are globalist, seeking to use international organizations (the IMF, NATO, the World Bank and U.S.-designed trade and investment sanctions) to overrule national governments that are not controlled by the rentier classes. The aim is to make all economies into finance-capitalist layers of hereditary privilege, imposing anti-labor austerity policies to squeeze a dollarized surplus.

"Industrial capitalism’s resistance to this international pressure is necessarily nationalist, because it needs state subsidy and laws to tax and regulate the FIRE sector. But it is losing the fight to finance capitalism, which is turning to be its nemesis just as industrial capitalism was the nemesis of post-feudal landlordship and predatory banking. Industrial capitalism requires state subsidy and infrastructure investment, along with regulatory and taxing power to check the incursion of finance capital. The resulting global conflict is between socialism (the natural evolution of industrial capitalism) and a pro-rentier fascism, a state-finance-capitalist reaction against socialism’s mobilization of state power to roll back the post-feudal rentier interests." [My Emphasis]

The situation in Syria and Iraq represent the kinetic edge of what's mostly a Cold War globally. It's noted that some of the Parasitical organizations have powers equal to some nation-states and that the main underlying aim is the weakening of governments's abilities to regulate them. The pandemic has weakened a great many nations while the Parasites have grown stronger as they get massive transfusions from the Fed. Thus it seems very plausible that given their motive, the Parasites spawned the pandemic, not this or that government. We watched as those forces operated independently of Trump by disobeying his orders, and now we have further understanding of why the so-called Forever Wars. We can also understand the real motive for 911 was the destruction of evidence at Building 7 and the Pentagon that would've gravely injured the Parasites while also providing a covering reason for launching the Forever Wars. IMO, the only way the Outlaw US Empire will leave the areas it occupies is if its physically ousted--Korea, Japan, Europe, Afghanistan, Southwest Asia. It ought to be possible to now see how Full Spectrum Domination can be obtained without a military conflict, as well as the real reasons behind the demonization of China and Russia.

Both Putin and Xi told Davos and the Parasites that they're committed to their development path which is completely at odds with what the Parasites desire. IMO, the global masses would agree with both and join them if they knew what they said. We can also see why the attack on the Ummah, which is the Islamic global collective that adheres to the values that promote the collective, not the Parasites that would feed on it. And we just witnessed how the Parasites are able to quickly counter any concerted effort to disciple them, which also served the purpose of outing Big Tech as an enemy of the collective. Cold War or Class War? The difference between them is close to indistinguishable.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 29 2021 17:18 utc | 23

Arch Bungle @19
No matter how frustrated I may get with some comments.
I always leave with a smile.
I always find some point of agreement with every poster.
I have learned more here than in my entire academic career. I rarely post because I cannot add. I love the tactful and the witty. I do admire those that have come here 'out of their comfort zone'. It all begins somewhere.

Posted by: ld | Jan 29 2021 17:38 utc | 24

why? because the usa is servant to israel... that and al- tanf is a terrorist base for usa-israel.... anything else is a lie and what you will read in the msm regularly...

@ karlof1... thanks again for the hudson article...

Posted by: james | Jan 29 2021 17:44 utc | 25

Dogon Priest | Jan 29 2021 17:09 utc | 22

Using the short form of trillion, and counting that the Pentagon budget (+ secret ops) was already estimated to be 1'2 trillion about five years back. Which makes $3'287'671'232.88 per day. Three thousand two hundred and eighty two million, six hundred and seventy one thousand, two hundred and thirty two dollars, and eighty eight cents.

I wish I had friends like yours, but tell it/them/etc. that I didn't count in the actual sum spent on contracts and procurement. Ask Congress, I think they have "oversight" (overshot?). Pelosi will know.

Easier to calculate, (incl US contribution) is that the total NATO budget is x 22 that of Russia.

General comment; If ISIS is mainly in the southern part of the desert east of the Euphrates, then it's arms must come from somewhere near. Al-Tanf is the most likely and the Israelis have admitted giving some (earlier) from the Golan heights area.
snake | Jan 29 2021 13:52 utc | 12

There are supposed to be 655 "families" that control all. The question is; are the corporations (Nouveau rich) and the families the one and the same? I do not think they are, but they use the same methods of control. (Media et al.)

Cheer up. here is a clip of "Putins palace" - the real insider facts. At least you will see why there is less unemployment in Russia.

Posted by: Stonebird | Jan 29 2021 17:49 utc | 26

Three thousand two hundred and eighty two million

It should have been ....eighty seven million. But what's five million a day between friends?

Posted by: Stonebird | Jan 29 2021 17:53 utc | 27

Paaveway @ 2 - here is how Indians are responding to injustice:

Posted by: juliania | Jan 29 2021 18:08 utc | 28

- I see a REAL possibility that these US trained fighters have an agenda of their own that "doesn't align/run parallel" with the plans the US has for Syria & Iraq/Iran.

Posted by: Willy2 | Jan 29 2021 18:12 utc | 29

oldhippie @Jan29 17:04 #20

Yeah, it's a legal fig leaf. But that's enough for a superpower to throw its weight around.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 29 2021 18:20 utc | 30

snake @12, this is indeed what has been happening, and why b's post on the Wall Street shenanigans is so important. Not only do oligarchs make their billions through monopolies, (thank you Clinton) but also Wall Street has been shown to be oligarchical territory for turning billions into trillions and not any little person can have leverage there.

Education happens outside the universities and the state run school system these days. The soft spots for the oligarchical/tyrannical system are surely educating many that 'it's a big club and you ain't in it', though I would rephrase that:

It's a little club, and you ain't in it.

Posted by: juliania | Jan 29 2021 18:23 utc | 31

Speaking about rich families who own the world. There is one unique feature of german oligarchy, they don’t change. More than half of the hundred richest families now have already been rich before ww1. They made the crazy history of last century possible. Please just go for a second in the perspective they have.

Posted by: rico | Jan 29 2021 19:24 utc | 32

No doubt a singe barrage could wipe this pustulant boil off the face of the desert. If only Assad had the assurance of his allies to do so. Should the US make the error of bombing Iran in the near future, Syria would do well to conclude this incursion quickly.

Posted by: DougDiggler | Jan 29 2021 19:45 utc | 33

Is al-Tanf really a launching pad for ISIS attacks in the region?

This question reminded me of something Putin told Oliver Stone in Episode 1 of The Putin Interviews regarding the Chechen 'uprising'. About 40 minutes in he tells Stone that "The Americans were flying fighters around (inside Russia)."
Putin complained about this to Bush II. The US response came in the form of a letter from the Director of the CIA which said, in effect: "The CIA reserves the right to engage with Opposition parties and will continue to do so."
In other words "Go fuck yourself."

Putin doesn't say what action, if any, Russia took in response to Yankee Chutzpah inside Russia but he's certainly familiar with Yankees throwing their weight around inside other people's countries.

The foregoing occurred AFTER Russia had moved heaven and earth to help and co-operate with the Yankees in their Fake War in Afghanistan.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 29 2021 20:20 utc | 34

thank you for pointing the situation in al Tanf. We tend to focus on the Idlib jihadi safe haeaven while forgeting this other strategic imperial outpost splitting the "axis of resistance".

Et tu@, B's link leads to Hedjuij Kuiperts's blog directly, good for them if Southfront publish it also, but credit is only to her here, as well as others excellents analysis she deliver on her blog about syria, blog that i discover now thanks to b,:

"The next days or weeks will show us how the Biden administration will react to a new Turkish invasion of Kurdish-held territories. Biden will either start taking a hard stance by condemning, or even sanctioning, Turkey into compliance, or a string of New York Times op-eds whitewashing the impending invasion will appear as Biden silently condones Turkey’s behavior".

up-to-date and sharp. her view on the israeli kurdish relationship is bright too :

Posted by: malamatias | Jan 29 2021 20:32 utc | 35

It’s extraordinary that in the current balance of power situation the SAA (Syrian Arab Army) and the Russian Military have to tolerate these clandestine operations in Syria by US and UK Special Forces protected by the threat of US and Israeli air power and invasive US military reaction. These operations have been initiated at the end of the proxy war waged unsuccessfully by the US/UK since 2012 with the aim in the longer term to extend by violence and terror the strength and penetration of Salafist Jihadist terrorism (embracing ISIS remnants etc) into mainland Syria much like the incursions conducted by the Contras in Nicaragua in the eighties to weaken the state and demoralise the people. That there is some confusion as to the role of these occupied Syrian territories despite the covert nature of the US/UK presence is worrying since it must be understood that the US and UK military are now providing direct operational and logistical support in addition to training, financing, resupplying terrorists including ISIS all operating from safe, protected bases inside Syria controlled by the US. It’s now obvious that unlike earlier in the Syrian conflict when US/UK involvement was limited by the policy of fronting the proxy war in Syria by Saudi Arabia, Gulf States and Turkey the US has stationed its forces on the front line of this low level proxy war which the US intends to stage manage while economic war is waged against the Syrian people to further weaken their resolve and resistance. This blatant criminal enterprise cannot go unanswered by all anti imperialist forces and organisations in the Middle East and Europe.

Posted by: rick | Jan 29 2021 22:12 utc | 36

This article from thesaker site last week relates:

"Unable to achieve complete regime change, the Empire has shifted gears and now is waging a war primarily based on starvation. Limiting the flow of food and energy in the country may not even succeed in directly impeding military operations, but it can effectively turn Syria into a third world country by grinding civilian life to a halt and starving the population."

- Deir Ezzor is a Sign of Things to Come

It ties in how, the US in 2003 "unilaterally disbanded the Iraqi army without pay, despite warnings that this would create a pool of manpower for terrorism. Many of these soldiers later filled the ranks of ISIS."

It could also have tied in how, in 2011, the US overthrew the stable, peaceful government in Libya and ensured the spread of weaponry to Syria/Iraq/ISIS/AQ/Africa, despite many warnings about that too. So the US deliberately created a pool of manpower for terrorism, then deliberately created a pool and flow of weaponry.

As stated in a 2014 article, "The states which the US planned to destroy in 2001 (as reported by General Wesley Clark in his memoirs) - Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Iran and Syria - are now in fact destroyed societies. All but Iran are left with civil war and majority destitution where once they had been relatively prosperous and life secure."

The people of Syria suffered far less under Trump than under Obama/H.Clinton/Biden, and, unfortunately, just days into the new administration it already looks like they will suffer more again now that Biden has empowered the neocons again.

Posted by: Canadian Cents | Jan 29 2021 22:25 utc | 37

I seem to have a glitch in the first link above. Here it is again: Deir Ezzor is a Sign of Things to Come

Posted by: Canadian Cents | Jan 29 2021 22:38 utc | 38

Posted by: William Gruff | Jan 29 2021 15:37 utc | 17

Even if the US have the most perfect election system ever, the masses are still not going to get anything beyond an illusion of control, because their "rights" are a bunch of baloney to begin with.

Posted by: J W | Jan 30 2021 1:57 utc | 39

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ //
Even if the US have the most perfect election system ever, the masses are still not going to get anything beyond an illusion of control, because their "rights" are a bunch of baloney to begin with.
// ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Totally true, From George Washington (slave owner) on down. But prefer to start somewhere.

Posted by: blues | Jan 30 2021 2:19 utc | 40

"...that is called illegal by the Syrian government and Russia." This base is called illegal by every sane person in the world. And yes, it's an ISIS training base used to help topple Syria's government.

Posted by: Carlton Meyer | Jan 30 2021 3:50 utc | 41

Blues @ 40 the problem is stated in this fashion.

A_______________________for the Senate 100 <== elected positions
B_____________each voter allowed 2 votes <2> <= for each of 2 senators
C______________________elected positions 98 <= no voter got to vote for.

E______________house of representatives 425 <=elected positions
F_____________each voter allowed 1 vote <1> <=for one member of house
G_____________________ elected positions 424 <= no voter got to vote for

I_________positions that deny voter choice. 522 <= no voter got to vote for

add them up u get three votes.. but there are 525 persons in the house and senate.
then on the president and VP you get to caste a no count vote <=because the
electoral college votes for the P and VP (the only two Article II positions.

BTW the first president of the United States of America was John Hanson, and the first United States of America [I call it USA_1] was governed by the Articles of Confederation; USA_1 was the government that defeated the British. USA_1 began in 1776 and was abruptly terminated in 1788 by the Constitution
of the United States. I call the government that operates under the constitution USA_2

Its not that rights are a bunch of baloney, its that there is no way to enforce the rights against those who infringe them? The Bill of Rights was a condition of ratification. Without them there would be no ratification. It was an I got you, if you want the constitution then you must include in it the Bill of Rights. but the Bill of rights were also a set of promises made without providing an effective way to enforce the promises. The constitution was amended to say the government the constitution authorizes promises to protect your rights but then the constitution authorized government takes away your guns.. what then? That is why I argue an independent second government is needed, this 2nd human rights government would govern and oversee the activities of those who are elected to the constitutional government and help those whose rights have been infringed to enforce their rights against those who violated them or who failed to keep others from violating the rights protected by the first amendment.

Posted by: snake | Jan 30 2021 4:01 utc | 42

@5 -Temporarily Sane | Jan 29 2021 11:53 utc

The law applies to in-laws. These are out-laws beyond the pale.
And it obviously is of no great strategic concern for the Russians to have a choker hold and throttle control on the Iranian domain with respect to Syria.
The war is the point. Not the conclusion of it.
There is also the large population of ex-Russian converts holidaying in Occupied Palestine these days.
And the Turks on a muzzle and leash.
All very complex.
Can't be solved; only dissolved.

Posted by: imo | Jan 30 2021 5:17 utc | 43

@33 DougDiggler - Should the US make the error of bombing Iran in the near future, Syria would do well to conclude this incursion quickly

Good point. Yes, that's exactly the dynamic in play in all the theaters isn't it? The US holds a kind of suicide-hostage leverage over all the forces it stands off, because no one wants to deliver that fatal blow to the US over a thing that may be too small for the consequences.

But the military defeat is coming, somewhere, sometime, and I have started to speculate that Russia may have decided (by agreement) to let China be the one to deliver this defeat. Once the first defeat is delivered by someone, it is as if delivered by everyone, and I believe that the hex will then be broken and it will be open season on US invaders everywhere.

Iran will go its own way regardless of any such agreements, but I find it hard to see the Pentagon making that kind of fatal error. If it does, of course, then as you say, a multitude of justice will be delivered to the US and Israel, all in one great pounding of the gavel.

Posted by: Grieved | Jan 30 2021 5:33 utc | 44

There's an entertaining 90 minute 2013 documentary film dedicated to the memory of harsh critic of US Establishment war mongering, Gore Vidal, called The United States of Amnesia.

One need only reflect upon the era when Colonial France was humiliated in Vietnam, and AmeriKKKa decided to embark on a Humiliation Redux, to appreciate the irony of a God Bothering nation shooting itself in the foot and then 'forgetting' the experience.

AmeriKKKa's long-standing devotion to inventing Fake Enemies, albeit harmless ones, has come full circle and it now has adversaries with teeth, brains and mobility, whose tolerance for bullshit and aggression is rapidly expiring.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 30 2021 5:45 utc | 45

According to Vidal, the four most beautiful words in the English language are "I told you so."

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 30 2021 6:08 utc | 46

Snake. As an infectious disease scientist with a PhD in statistics, you have restored my faith in the ability of average Americans to do basic math


Posted by: Dogon Priest | Jan 30 2021 7:56 utc | 47

@King Lear | Jan 30 2021 5:11 utc | 43

Is anyone open-minded enough to Intellectually critique my proposal for “Peace in the Middle East” at #43?

Its probably a good plan, but the title is totally wrong. It should be "Total war in the Middle East and elsewhere"

Posted by: Norwegian | Jan 30 2021 7:57 utc | 48

King Lear | Jan 30 2021 5:11 utc | 43

You are starting from a basic postulate that small tribal or religious groups are "better".

This gives Large players absolute control. Now try breaking the US or the EU up in the same manner. We (EU) already have many individual problems of "nationality" (N. Ireland Walloons/Flemish. Catalonia etc.), and bringing back "religion" would be a disaster. (Protestant/Catholic/Muslim etc.) we have had enough religious wars. (Small religious groups are immediately going to join together - and if they are extremists .....). The India-Pakistan division into Hindu-Muslim areas (in theory, as it didn't work), have given us one of the most dangerous "fronts" on the planet (Nuclear).

I'm not going to analyse each of the "solutions" that you propose. It should be clear that the present "trend" is towards larger groupings. ie. China, Russia, and Iran to create a Eurasian whole. or. the TPP in the Pacific region. or. the BRI (World-wide version etc.)

While you may have had fun redesigning the world. Most, if not all of the segements are not viable independently. (Finance/assets/)


Posted by: Stonebird | Jan 30 2021 9:03 utc | 49

Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 30 2021 6:08 utc | 48

Has "I told you so" been replaced by "it is for your own security" ?

Posted by: Stonebird | Jan 30 2021 9:06 utc | 50

King Lear @ 43:

Yes I recall "critiquing" your proposed Balkanisation of the Middle East before. I didn't think I'd have to do it again. There are a number of reasons why your Balkanisation is not necessarily ideal.

First of all, in whose interests do you propose splitting up the various Middle Eastern nations into smaller units on the basis of religion and language? Those interests may not necessarily be those of the people who are going to be living in those units. Mostly likely the people whose interests are served by Balkanising the Middle East are going to be those who want to keep the people living in the Middle East weak and disunited.

Secondly, it is not a given that all Christians in Lebanon will tolerate one another (they are divided into a number of denominations) or that all Arabic-speaking Sunnis are monolithic in language and religion. Some Christian groups may have more in common with non-Christians than with other Christians. How can you be sure that your ethno-linguistic divisions are not in fact artificial and were arbitrarily decided by other people living outside the Middle East? The Kurdish people themselves speak several different languages and dialects and follow different religions.

Thirdly, the people living in the Middle East would have to agree to their nations being broken up and divided arbitrarily in the way you propose. What if they do not agree at all and have valid reasons of their own for not agreeing?

Fourthly, if you split up the current nations in the Middle East into smaller units, some of those units are not going to be economically viable especially if they are landlocked or have no access to water resources. Apart from the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, there are not many major rivers in the region and some may be prone to drying up for a good part of the year every year. Communities are going to have to share the use of rivers like the Tigris and the Euphrates and it may be in their best interests to unite into one nation again around these two rivers so that the waters in these rivers are used and shared efficiently, and not wasted. Likewise the soils around these rivers have to be used and shared efficiently, and again sustainable use may require all the different religious and linguistic communities to unite and share the responsibilities as well as the privileges of using the land and its resources.

Incidentally I recall that some other MoA barflies compared your proposal to the Oded Yinon Plan of divvying up the Middle East along ethno-linguistic lines.

Posted by: Jen | Jan 30 2021 11:04 utc | 51

J W @39: "Even if the US have the most perfect election system ever, the masses are still not going to get anything beyond an illusion of control..."

Very true. Unless we end up in another Dark Ages humanity will eventually come to the realization that elections have nothing to do with democracy.

Posted by: William Gruff | Jan 30 2021 11:29 utc | 52

Establishment astroturf telltale #3: The astroturfer will attempt to promote establishment ideology or specific narratives differing from the establishment's mass media in word choice or rationale, but the intentions will be to redirect opinion of fora readers into line with establishment objectives. This is to say that a poster arguing for something identical to the "Project for a New American Century" is an indication that they are astroturfing for the establishment.

See if you can spot the astroturfer in this thread.

Posted by: William Gruff | Jan 30 2021 11:44 utc | 53

I sometimes wonder what would happen if Assad bussed a few thousand civilians...old men, women, close to al-Tanf as they can safely get....say twenty km....and had them all walk there, pilgrimage style...."we want our country back". With plenty of Russian TV coverage, etc. Mobile kitchens....tented accommodation....get people from everywhere to participate. No guns allowed....just overwhelm the fokkers with thousands of civilians....perhaps get a few god botherers in the vanguard.

Posted by: Foxenburg | Jan 30 2021 12:04 utc | 54

There are Australian Special Forces (SAS) in Syria as well. They've been there since 2011.

It's not often (or rarely) talked about but I had someone in the army tell me this. I presume there are therefore also NZ & Canadian forces in there as well.

They all hang together!

Posted by: Jiminy | Jan 30 2021 12:10 utc | 55

Posted by: Foxenburg | Jan 30 2021 12:04 utc | 56

Another Srebrenica...

Posted by: Arch Bungle | Jan 30 2021 12:24 utc | 56

Posted by: Foxenburg | Jan 30 2021 12:04 utc | 56

You can see what happens with that sort of approach down there at our southern border. Sometimes we pay for them ourselves to annoy our political enemies. But I like the way you think outside the box. All of those people have a stake, they deserve a chance to join the fight.

Posted by: Bemildred | Jan 30 2021 12:35 utc | 57

Re: Posted by: snake | Jan 29 2021 13:52 utc | 12

"Oligarchary has gone global. They are in control of the top of nearly all governments and they privately own (92% owned by just 6 entities) the media(the ninth tier in the 9 tier model) At the top and at the bottom they have what it takes to keep divided the populations so the deplorable cannot effectively organize."

It's actually 5 - CBS & Viacom merged in 2019.

The 5 include 3 Family businesses and 2 more traditional corporations.

1. Disney
2. AT&T (Time Warner/CNN etc.)
3. Comcast (Brian Roberts, Roberts Family)
4. Viacom CBS (Shari Redstone, Redstone Family)
5. News Corp (Rupert Murdoch, Murdoch Family)

So 3 Media 'Moguls'!!

And now of course you have the New Media - Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Twitter, Google & Netflix.

Posted by: Julian | Jan 30 2021 12:52 utc | 58

Re: Posted by: King Lear | Jan 30 2021 5:59 utc | 47

Is anyone open-minded enough to Intellectually critique my proposal for “Peace in the Middle East” at #43?

My answer to your question here is a resounding "NON".

Why you might ask?

Because your proposal is the definition of insanity.

Have you ever heard about what idiots people who 'do the same thing continually but expect different results' are?

If you haven't, I suggest you read up on it.

My conclusion after reading your 'proposal' is that you are either incredibly stupid OR you work for the US Government or any of the NeoCon Artist think tanks.

Whichever it is - you are clearly infected with an incurable madness King.

Posted by: Julian | Jan 30 2021 12:57 utc | 59

@56 Foxenburg
The Syrians tried this once with the Golan Heights. I don't recall which year exactly but it was a few years before the start of the Syrian Civil War. The Israeli border guards shot at them as the approached the border and there were several dead.

Posted by: m | Jan 30 2021 13:46 utc | 60

@ Posted by: Foxenburg | Jan 30 2021 12:04 utc | 56

I suppose Assad would be accused of gassing and killing his own civilians - again.

Posted by: Nathan Mulcahy | Jan 30 2021 15:03 utc | 61

Relax everyone, the US will be withdrawing it entire military soon.

How do I know?

Pentagon declares climate change a 'national security issue'

And, as any fule knowe, war (and the US military in particular) is one of the the biggest producers of "greenhouse gases", environmental destruction , Etc etc

Obviously it logically follows that if CC is a 'national security' threat then the propagation of war, indeed the continued existence of the US military itself, is a'national security' threat.

Gawd bless Prezident Joe Biden.

Posted by: Triden | Jan 30 2021 15:19 utc | 62

if they were logically consistent it would, trident, but as we all know the system is rigged. including wall street. also you don't need to put quotation marks around the identifying phrase "greenhouse gases" unless you are specifically referring to its use as a phrase.
economics--not science

Posted by: pretzelattack | Jan 30 2021 15:41 utc | 63

@pretzelattack | Jan 30 2021 15:41 utc | 65

The fact that you claim one does not need to put quotation marks around "greenhouse gases" is a good indication you do indeed need to put quotation marks around "greenhouse gases". And by the way, it is is a power tool, not science.

Posted by: Norwegian | Jan 30 2021 16:30 utc | 64

Gawd bless Prezident Joe Biden.
and Gawd elp the rest of us.

Biden is no longer in charge; the US military and Israel have taken over.

Samples: Three Aegis destroyers in the Black sea at one time (Russia counter-move is the activation of an anti-ship system.)
New US navy "trips" around Taiwan.
Tehran, including the airfield had a total blackout - one explanation is that it was to cut short a cyber attack. (A Turkish plane diverted, possibly so as not to be mistaken for a target)
SDF in Syria have stopped allowing the production of bread in Hasaka and other pressures on the Syrians that live there. They restrict water for a million people, and have blocked the SAA from leaving their areas.
Israel continues to shoot, arrest palestinians, it injured Ten Palestinians In Kufur Qaddoum and cut down 10'000 trees in a nature reserve. (More or less standard for the IDF).
US Troop drawdowns in Iraq, Germany, have been reversed.

Biden is going to need the 20'000 troops still in Washington to protect him and Nancy from buffoons in furs and horns.

Posted by: Stonebird | Jan 30 2021 17:07 utc | 65

@Stonebird | Jan 30 2021 17:07 utc | 67

Biden is going to need the 20'000 troops still in Washington to protect him and Nancy from buffoons in furs and horns.

Those troops are outside the fence now, someone is afraid of something.

Posted by: Norwegian | Jan 30 2021 17:17 utc | 66

Stonebird @ 67

I sure can’t claim to the insider knowledge about who is in charge, will take note of all the feints and provocations and nonsense on your list.

As for those nominally in charge it is already abundantly clear that the Biden foreign policy team is just as stupid and uninformed as the Trump team. What the new team all has in common is a life entirely within the swamp, unearned promotions at an early age, no apparent ability at anything beyond office politics. Bad position from which to be belligerent. From your list it seems they are dumb enough to do that.

There is no way that if US bluff were called in Syria it would be logistically possible to maintain al Tanf. The northeast of Syria just as unsupportable. SAS and their ilk imagining they are TE Lawrence manipulating desert tribes will sound better once back at the club with a gin and tonic. Would not take many casualties for that lot to cut bait and bail. The supposed tribal allies are mostly mercenaries, who are always ready to run.

It all ends the moment the bluff is called. Someone will call the bluff. The US is deep into overreach. We are only waiting the end game.

Posted by: oldhippie | Jan 30 2021 17:42 utc | 67

Re: karlof1 | Jan 29 2021 17:18 utc | 23

"It ought to be possible to now see how Full Spectrum Domination can be obtained without a military conflict, as well as the real reasons behind the demonization of China and Russia."

In aid of this, NPR --

Ramped-up China Bashing on NPR

NPR’s Scott Simon, always ready with a bagful of outrageous lies about Putin and Russia, has now joined forces with professional China-basher Amelia Pang. The two of them played ping-pong mendacity this morning (12/30/12), trading lies that have already been smashed into oblivion, as China hosts group after group of international observers to go and to see whatever they want to in the country. Later in the broadcast Simon also, of course, did not fail to mention the “Kremlin attempt to assassinate Navalny.”

I don’t know if he gets paid extra to do that each week, or if it’s a matter of keeping his job or else.

Posted by: AntiSpin | Jan 30 2021 17:48 utc | 68

Give them furry busbies (hats made from bearskins) and then they could be passed off as the guard around Buckingham Palace. They already have tourists photographing them, but would Nancy qualify as an ersatz Queen?.

As you say - very curious. But in a dictatorship, or a country that is planning to go to war within a couple of days this would be considered a "reasonable" precaution.

ie: There was a bomb that went off near the Israeli Embassy in India, and the situation in the US might turn into mass protests against .......... Biden, lockdown, elections, hunger, wallstreet, congress (please fill in with a guess)

Posted by: Stonebird | Jan 30 2021 17:49 utc | 69

oldhippie | Jan 30 2021 17:42 utc | 69

I love the mental image of a load of soldiers in "Laurence" kits on camels riding off to attack Anbar.

In a way though - there is no change in the Pentagon. Remember that lying to the President is standard practice (Vineman?). All that appears to have happened is that the SAME people are getting restive and piling pressure on Russia. As according to them, they seem to think that they can "win" or make Russia retreat even more (where to I have no idea)

Al Tanf; there were reports that the US had or was in the process of making a new base on the Jordanian side nearby. They are also setting up yet another new one somewhere in the north of east Syria. This fits in with their earlier idea of "creating" a new state in the desert area east of the Syrian border in Iraq (anbar again?), joining it with the Syrian east.

If the bluff is called, and with the rapidity of reaction of modern warfare, the "withdrawal" phase would be minimum. (ie. The time a missile would take from the US missile setup in Poland to Kalingrad, St. Peterbourg or even Moscow cannot be more than ten minutes)

Posted by: Stonebird | Jan 30 2021 18:26 utc | 70

@72 Stonebird

Or perhaps that missile would be following the opposite trajectory?

After all, it is indeed a "bluff" that is being called here.

Posted by: Grieved | Jan 30 2021 18:37 utc | 71

Grieved | Jan 30 2021 18:37 utc | 73

You mean fat finger or loss of nerve, computer malfunction or false flag?

Of course both sides can start.

The British "empire" was based on the bluff that it's navy was invincible for about 200 hundred years - until - the battle of Jutland. King against Kaiser. BOTH sides claimed victory, but the world learned that the British navy was not "invincible". The cost in human lives of calling that bluff ?

Question is more, who wins in the end? It isn't the people.

Posted by: Stonebird | Jan 30 2021 18:57 utc | 72

Re: Paul | Jan 29 2021 12:34 utc | 7

Yes, and this points to a paradox: what else is the American exceptionalism, if not an assertion of sovranism? Carl Schmitt doctrine of decisionism is that "Sovereign is he who decides on the exception."
This is opposed to the "Rule of law", which is, in essence, burgeois capitalism.
This inconsistency mines at the root the moral credibility of the West.

Posted by: Alberto | Jan 30 2021 19:40 utc | 73

Stomebird @ 72

In some ways have to agree with you. The Vindeman twins were Clinton loyalists who both had offices in the West Wing. Also arms merchants and complete scoundrels. Trump did not hire good help. No one with a lick of sense would hire Ukrainian emigres for advice on Ukraine, Eastern Europe. The notion that you could get disparate insights by keeping both twins on staff is silliness. And of course the Democrats also rely heavily on Ukrainians talking their own book.

If a salvo is launched from Poland to Moscow we will quickly find out how good Russian air defense is. Poland will cease to exist. And so forth. The Biden team is so stupid we might go there. For all the trash talk that never ended for four years Trump at least knew he was out of his depth and was cautious. So far we see no caution from the new crew. I would like to know how much ninnies like Jake Sullivan or Avril Haines are actually in charge of anything and how much they are merely conduits for instructions from the unseen man behind the curtain. If you follow links and check on staffers for Sullivan or Haines or Blinken it gets frightening. Peak incompetence. If those staffers were to be the ones developing options and plans it would be even worse than Clinton relying on the Blumenthals.

Compare the general knowledge and displayed ability of Jen Psaki with Maria Zakharova. Extrapolate that all up and down the line. America tries to start a war with someone who can fight back we get our asses handed to us. And then we reach for the nukes.

Posted by: oldhippie | Jan 30 2021 20:32 utc | 74

@76 oldhippie - And then we reach for the nukes.

and before we even get there, we get our asses handed to us again, deep fried. Because, yes, the Russians really are that fast, and they've been preparing for exactly this moment for a long time. And then the world is over. Nuclear winter will end the world. But if, somehow, there is no total winter across the whole globe, then some portions of the world will survive. But not the USA.

If the generals in the Pentagon believe that the curse of 8 billion people won't haunt them for eternity, then they will discover the truth of it very soon after their fatal mistake.

And so we come to it, friend America. Do you call your own bluff, after all? Do you actually launch nukes that you know are sub-par compared with the new Russian standard? Do you actually, wantonly and for no gain whatsoever destroy your entire country, simply from one decision. Do you?

Let the US agonize over that question. Everyone else has already figured out the answer, which is no first strike. And no one else is stupid enough to place themselves in such a worthless bluff.

I'll bet Vegas would still give odds of 50-50 in the final moment that the US will understand that because of MAD, there is no one side that wins or loses - both sides are fused at the hip. Only the US doesn't realize it. I'll go 50-50 that the US would still have time in the final minute to understand that.

It's called growing up. Time for the US to do that. Maybe they have to take themselves to the brink to open their eyes enough to see beyond the edge - finally - and learn what everyone else knew instinctively since birth.


It is because the US has been able to rely on that bluff without ever having to play that card, that it has been able to walk over small nations without push-back. But the very fact of that first defeat will force US thinking finally to go to that place it has used purely as a bluff so far. Despite all the bluster, it is not clear to me that US thinking actually embraces the reality implied by that bluff.

I believe the US will face one of the greatest shocks of its entire existence if it, first, loses a military battle that it characterizes as a defeat, and then is thrust immediately into contemplating the reality of a nuclear strike. Then we will see the US grow up fast.

Personally, I'm tired of believing in that bluff. If the US is going to destroy the world, then let it make its move. If it's not, then let it learn this and become conscious about it, and stop using it as a big brother in the background that allows it to bully.

Posted by: Grieved | Jan 31 2021 2:32 utc | 75

American State Terrorism is the Terrorism that Dare Not Speak Its Name.

There are very few Americans or their Goebbelsian "Free Press" who even use this phrase, American State Terrorism.

This includes many fake “alternative” media mouthpieces from Glenn Greenwald to Amy Goodman.

Even to utter this phrase of "American State Terrorism" is a Thought Crime, as it shatters the secular religion of Americanism and the delusion that America is a Force for Good in the world--as opposed to, say, America being a Force for Evil that deserves to be destroyed as such.

So, given all this, let me close by saying: AMERICAN STATE TERRORISM, muhf*ckers.

ISIS Terrorists Confess They Carried Out Many Operations in Coordination with US Forces in al-Tanf Base

American State Terrorism

Posted by: ak74 | Jan 31 2021 8:13 utc | 76

Using the enemy of the enemy for hegemonic goals is a long-standing strategy of Israel and Neocons.

That's why the continuing presence of U.S. in Syria is so dirty and has little moral basis to defend.

To think that the U.S., Israel and U.K. consider savages like ISIS useful is to have conclusive proof that this is all about destroying the geopolitical/commercial partnership of Iran-Iraq-Syria-Lebanon by any means and damn the destructive human consequences.

Oh and it's further proof Trump is a Neocon.

Posted by: Circe | Jan 31 2021 12:48 utc | 77

Grieved @ 77

This is pure blue sky on a dead thread. Speculation beyond our pay grade.

Totally agree with you the Russians are and will be faster. Also totally agree America said goodbye to reality quite some time ago.

Two little personal stories. A friend I have known since she was born (and I was six) was offered a faculty chair at the Kennedy School. This was in recognition of her services to the Dukakis campaign. She declined as it became clear to her that no one at Kennedy was doing anything but standing in line to get on board the gravy train. And that first class seats on that train were awarded by birth, not by merit. She would always be outranked by her students. It has only grown worse in the ensuing three decades. Second story. An elderly couple from Amarillo who recently passed on always told me the Pantex plant was a pure Potemkin village and money pit. Nothing real happened there since the 60s and it was questionable what was happening then. Would I bank on that? No. Do I believe US forces have what the military calls readiness? No. I would prefer the bluff is never called. The temptation to call the bluff grows.

US has exactly three sites in the middle of the continent where ICBMs can be launched. The Sarmat/Avangard system seems designed for no plausible mission but to take those sites out. If it could be done, it could be done with conventional warheads. US has exactly 14 subs that can launch nuclear missiles. Russia has the ability to track those subs in real time. Only lapse in coverage occurs when a sub is beneath greater thuan 1.4 meters of Arctic ice. Ability to track even beneath the ice may have been added and will certainly arrive soon. At which point subs are nothing but targets in same sense that the surface fleet is just targets. Conventional weapons would suffice. I could go on.

Suppose Russia moves 2 S-400 systems to eastern Syria and makes it clear they will be used. US would have no possible response. Start total war because of a deployment? The mere fact that deploying a relatively small lot of hardware would leave US naked means we are already naked. Russia knows that. They are patient because never interrupt an adversary when he is busy shooting himself in the foot. Which is underway. The curtain is coming down. We all have seats and get to watch the show.

Posted by: oldhippie | Jan 31 2021 15:27 utc | 78

That second photo with the special forces hiding their pack and gear under long overcoats reminds me of the Basra incident of 2005. Two SAS, disguised as locals, open fire at Iraqi police, are pursued and eventually caught with an arsenal of small weapons and, more importantly, explosives and bomb making devices. As you may recall, 2005 was just about the peak of sectarian tensions in Iraq with terror attacks targeting shrines and markets. The Brits sent tanks to break the operators out of prison and this did not sit well with the locals. In any case, the web should still host photos of the two captives. It's always interesting to put a face on the little helping hands of the so-called civil war.

On a related note, I always wondered why liberating the area of Al Tanf was never a priority early in the war. It didn't make sense to ignore such a strategic tri-border area, a highway to one of your few remaining allies, an entry point for rebel fighters and supplies and a likely export route for stolen oil. Later on, in 2017, when Iraqi forces began to liberate Anbar, there once more seemed to be something holding up the momentum south of Al Tanf and around Akashat.

It's always difficult to get a clear picture of what is going on in a conflict where the aggressor never brags and the victim rarely complains. My impression, however, is that the bearded meanies Syrian forces were reluctant to engage were of the blue eyed type.

Posted by: robin | Jan 31 2021 18:55 utc | 79

karlof1 # 23

Thank you for that post.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jan 31 2021 20:27 utc | 80

Al tanf is really a bastion of capitalistic imperial thinking. It is basically surrounded on all sides by desert and everything has to be trucked and air lifted in. But we got the oil boys. That amount would never strangle syria daily consumption nor realy scare anyone as the missiles wouldnt point to this sacred piece of crossing base is really rudimentary. it would aim directly at al sauds and all the bases of the usa. So they prefer just watching them process oil which requires a lot of special catalysts and turning that into low profit cash to truck in water. Syria should just sell them water and food. It is profitable

Posted by: Jason | Feb 24 2021 7:43 utc | 81

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